Is the creation of buyer personas an outdated practice?

The safe answer of course is, it depends. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say – yes, personas are outdated. 

A recent webinar I joined said everything I know about personas is wrong. But they were wrong. Not about personas, but about what I know.

The hosts, representatives of PowerPost and the BuyerPersona Institute, discussed the right way to create personas and how to put them into practice effectively. The topic of personas was actually a path to talk about the way we connect and engage with audiences. And that is something I know a lot about, and it is most certainly not outdated. 

Personas as they were once known – cute little one-pagers of fake people and all of their characteristics – are a waste of time. But knowing your audience based on real data, understanding the questions and concerns they have throughout their buying process, and being able to supply answers in the places they're seeking – that is the best use of your time.

So if you need to create personas to help you develop a framework for that, go right ahead. Just don't get caught up in the details of how old they are, where they live, how much education they have, or what color their hair is. 

Do it right. Collect information on the characteristics that define their buying journey. Not random personal attributes. Take the time to do qualitative research that goes deep enough to lead to true insight. Then validate it.

Only through understanding your audience's pain will you be able to build an authentic relationship for long-term engagement. The upfront work is worth it.

Want to learn more about Hotwire's strategic approach for connecting and creating trust with audiences? Let's chat.